Oral historian Pamela Brown Lavitt interviewed Arva Gray on June 25 and August 9, 2001 in Bellevue, Washington as part of the Jewish Womenâs Archive "Weaving Women's Words" project.
A Mormon convert to Judaism, Arva Davis Gray was a leader in the Seattle Jewish community and a self-described âkitchen Jewâ who served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, as a member of the Boards of many local and national Jewish organizations, and was a founder of Bellevue's Temple B'Nai Torah. Trained as a nurse, she married Dr. Bernard Gray, with whom she raised two children from his previous marriage and two of their own. Arva spiced her life with Sephardic and Askenazic cooking learned from friends and neighbors, and with wisdom grounded in Judaism and a broad, humane outlook. Arva also devoted her energies to her four children and to her grandchildren. Arva Gray died on June 14, 2010.
In the early 2000s, the Jewish Women's Archive conducted oral history interviews with 30 Jewish women living in Baltimore and another 30 in Seattle. Born in the early decades of the 20th century, these women lived through decades of political, social, and economic upheaval, as well as dramatic changes in expectations and opportunities for women. Doctors and lawyers, teachers and saleswomen, judges and social workers, homemakers and community volunteers, the narrators represent a wide range of backgrounds, affiliations, and experiences of American Jewish women. To find out more and to see the online exhibits based on this project, visit Jewish Women's Archive/baltimore and Jewish Women's Archive/seattle
The complete audio recordings and transcripts of the interviews are available on the Internet Archive.
This project was made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Brenda Brown Lipitz Rever Foundation, and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Inc. In Baltimore, the project was a collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Maryland; in Seattle, with the Museum of History and Industry.